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Let us start again: Philippine Bishops’ Peace Message



Manila, 31 December 2013: In his New Year message, the leader of Filipino Catholic prelates prayed on Monday for peace in Syria, the end of kidnappings and violence, and the “conversion of the corrupt.” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), also called on Catholics to lead a life of conversion and abandon “old and evil ways” as they welcome 2014 filled with faith and hope.
Villegas’ message, “Let us start again,” which was posted on the CBCP website, was punctuated with calls to stop violence and corruption that perennially hound the country.

End terrorism, violence “We pray for an end to kidnappings, we pray that violence stop. We beg for the end of terrorism and the conversion of the corrupt,” Villegas said.
“We pray for peace in Syria, healing for every troubled heart. We pray for typhoon victims that they can soon rise up and start,” he said.

Feast of peace “Today is the feast of peace, that all may live as one. We pray that war may end and hunger may be gone. We pray that the reign of terror and the power of each gun be melted by the mercy of God and the Blood of His only Son,” he added.
Villegas noted the relevance of welcoming the new year with a positive disposition, saying that it is important to grace new beginnings by looking back with gratitude and perceiving the future filled with faith and hope.

Feast of Mary “Behold the Lord makes all things new, God of new beginnings. We look at the year behind us with gratitude for its blessings. We look at the new year eagerly, hoping for the best to come. We believe in His tender love, secure in the embrace of His Son,” he said.
Villegas also urged the faithful to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose motherhood is being celebrated in the special season of the birth of Christ.
“Today is the Feast of Mary, we celebrate her motherhood. The baby she conceived in her heart and carried in her womb, that baby is truly God-man, we believe and we proclaim, He has made our hearts His home; to obey His will is our aim,” Villegas said.
In his own message, Bishop Efraim Tendero, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, urged Filipinos to welcome 2014 “expecting the best.”
Confidence
“[The year] 2014 comes with challenges, uncertainties and difficulties, but we can face them with confidence because of the faithful and abiding presence of God in all the days ahead of us,” Tendero said.Source: CBCP




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